View Full Version : Anybody that drives to florida, how do they keep it from getting to them.

03-12-2004, 03:12 PM
Hi Everyone:

Thinking of another trip to wdw, and we always drive down. When I think of the long drive it starts to get to me a little, and I am trying to think of a way to do it so it isn't as bad. I have never flown, so I am one of those people that is afraid so we have to drive.

Does the drive start to get to anyone else or is it just me. What do others do to keep from letting it get to you. We do it in two days, maybe that is the problem.


Rebecca P.
03-12-2004, 03:27 PM
I don't find it gets to us. We spend the 24 hours talking, watching movies and best of all seeing winter end and summer begin. Buy Dave Hunter's book and enjoy. We always plan one little side trip on the way down, the Underground Sea in Tennessee, the ice cream factory and the Shaker Village in Kentucky which my kids will never let me forget! It is a 24 hour drive from our home to Orlando. How long for you?


03-12-2004, 03:40 PM
It is 22 hours, we usually go over the border at niagara falls and do the 77/79 route thru pennsylvania, and the virginias, and the carolinas etc. We usually leave quite early like 4 a.m. and drive 12 hrs. Maybe that is the problem.


03-12-2004, 03:52 PM
I've made the drive several times and will be again in Jan'05. In Sept of this year we will be flying (which I've also done before). Honestly, I hate the drive and I've already started dreading it. My dh never travels with my ds and I because of work obligations so the times we've driven it has usually been with my parents. In January it will be with them as well as my aunts family for their first trip....it comes down to economics....we can stay longer and more trips if we save the plane fare and car rental and stay in an offsite condo.

That being said when it is just my ds and I flying is more economical and we stay on site avoiding the car rental charge.

To answer your question I always dread the drive but we always get through it by remembering that for this particular trip this was the only way for us to go. The old thou shalt accept the things you cannot change!

03-12-2004, 03:54 PM
If you think about the whole 24 hours at once it can be quite daunting. I chop it up into pieces instead. ie. 6 hours to Cincinnatti, then 5 hours through Kentucky/Tennessee. The only state that can be really long is Georgia (going the I75 route). We try and stop in Georgia on the way down so that it doesn't seem as long. Coming home is a different story. So, I now have that state broken down into 2 hour segments as well. 2 hours to Macon, 2 hours to Atlanta, 2 hours to the border.

We also leave around four in the morning. Sometimes we drive 14 hours the first day. That way the next day seems like a hop, skip and a jump and we're there.

People tell us to spread out the travel over three days, but I don't want to "waste" days on the road when I want to get to my destination. If I had my way we'd drive straight through. Due to ear problems I won't fly either so we have to drive. Besides it cost a lot less money than flying.

Try not to dwell on the drive, play lots of Disney music on the way down and before you know it you'll be there.

03-12-2004, 04:03 PM
Actually, our last trip, we left disney and spent a night in daytona. Then we left at 5 a.m. and started driving thinking we would look for a place 6 hours from home, by the time we were 6 hours from home we all decided to keep on going strait to our own beds.

It took us 19 hours to hamilton. Arrived at midnight. Funny thing my hubby left daytona with shorts on cause it was hot, and at midnight (in hamilton) was getting milk in the corner store still in shorts (it was cold by the time we arrived home).

It was a weird feeling, but we had never driven straight thru. After that trip my son said he would never drive again, and here I am planning another trip.


03-12-2004, 04:31 PM
We actually look foreward to the drive we always drive I75 and stop in Valdosta Georgia for the night we leave at night so the kids will sleep. We find it an enjoyable drive you get to show the kids different things along the way and even sometimes see things you may have missed yourself on previous trips down. We also use the Along the I75 book by Dave Hunter it maes for quite an entertaining drive.

hockey mom
03-12-2004, 04:44 PM
I also dread the drive that is why we have been flying lately. When we did drive though I like to use the trip tic as a way of inching my way there. Every time I got to flip a page was a victory and gave me something to look forward to.

03-12-2004, 04:53 PM
We actually love the drive down - it's the drive home that gets to me.:) One thing we do that's kind of silly, but it helps . . . I write down all the names of the states and provinces and as we see them, cross them off. We usually get most of them (even had Alaska a couple of times). When my mom and I went by ourselves last fall, she kind of looked at me funny when I handed her the book and told her to watch the licence plates. But she was soon enthusiastic about it and we always checked out licence plates in the hotel parking lot, at Belz outlet etc.

03-12-2004, 05:33 PM
We don't mind the drive actually. We always do I-75 using Dave Hunter's book. We make a point of stopping at the two Timmy's in Ohio. This last trip we also stopped at the US Plastics Factory which was really neat -- it's only open during the week though so we've driven past a few times before we had the opportunity to stop and visit.

We do the drive in 3 parts -- we leave around 4pm on the 1st day after work (I say I'm leaving work at noon but always have something at the last minute and don't leave til 3pm) hence the 4pm start. We drive for about 6 hours til we hit the top of Ohio. The next day we drive abour 12-14 hours and then the third day we arrive around 1pm in Orlando.

The best thing though is that we always stop at the Cracker Barrel and rent the books on cd -- we listen to two on the way down and two on the way back. Really makes the time pass and we usually pick books that we probably wouldn't read. Most of them are 5-6 hours split into approx 1 hour cd's so we can drive for 1 cd and then take a break etc.

Also it's cool to see the seasons change if you drive in the spring -- not as much fun in the fall. :D

03-12-2004, 05:45 PM
My wife and I have driven four times. It is a 21 hour trip and we break it up into shifts. Its just like work. I drive 4 hours and then I get a break. I catch some z's or do some reading and before I know it it is my shift again. We also are Howard Stern fans (shameless I know) and I record about 40 hours of his show and dump it onto an MP3 player. I bought a little CD - Cassette convertor and it plugs into my cars cassette deck and streams the MP3 over the car stereo. Time flies when you are listening to people talk. Another good thing is books on tape. They eat up the miles.

We always drive straight through. I must be weird but the drive down is one of my favourite parts of the trip. I love the scenery.

03-12-2004, 07:40 PM
Yes, I do enjoy seeing the seasons change, in the spring. First green grass and then trees with actual green leaves on them and next we really love to see flowers again.

I will know next week of dh can get some time off the end of April and we will be on our way.

For a Canadian I guess it would be too expensive to take the autotrain home, as I would probably want my family's own room on the train with beds, as well, that might take the boredom from the drive home. Then we only have 7 hrs from Lorton Virginia.

Thanks for the posts, it has made me think that it isn't so bad.


03-12-2004, 07:46 PM
This will be my first time driving down however I have taken the Greyhound from Toronto. (Torture!) I'm also afraid of flying so this I'm eager to drive and leave my bus days behind me!!

We'll see when I get back but right now I'm pretty optimistic. Mostly we'll be listening to CD's. I like brining Broadway CD's that I know all of the words to. We'll be singing show tunes half of the way down. :Pinkbounc

I'm looking forward to the drive down... I'm actually really excited. I'm just afraid I'll get too tired to want to drive back!

03-13-2004, 09:19 AM
I do a search on the net and find Disney park music and Disney songs and convert them to MP3 we have an MP3 car stereo and that is what we listen to all the way there it really helps get us in the Disney mood We have the opening CD start after we stop to top up the tank in West Lorne and the first thing on the first cd is the monorail spiel it is the best way to start your drive to the world.

03-13-2004, 12:37 PM
WOW...you have such short drives...:rolleyes: We have 3200 km ahead of us when we leave Moncton...Now that is long. When we lived in Ottawa it was a lot shorter.

We stopped in Hershey to see the Chocolate factory and South of the Border on the second day...Not too bad at all.

Now we do the trip from here in 3 days. We stop the first night to stay with friends in Middletown NY, the second night in South Carolina and then day 3 we arrive in Orlando.

I like the drive but DH says he won't do it again till we have a bigger car. ( we drive a 4 door Cavalier) well it looks like he will get his wish.

My Dad has just bought a 32 foot long 5th wheel and a HUGE truck and says we can borrow it for trips...Can't wait.:hyper:

03-13-2004, 04:25 PM
One thing we always did that made the drive seem shorter was to get up and on the road at around 5 in the morning. We could usually put in 3 or 4 hours before stopping for breakfast.

Somehow being on the road that early, with little traffic to worry about, made those first few hundred miles seem effortless. In fact, we always joked that we did them before waking up.

Then we stopped for the night around 4 in the afternoon, when there was little chance of a No Vacancy sign. We could relax and unwind from the day, go out for an early dinner, and repeat the next two days until we arrived at Disney.

03-13-2004, 08:59 PM
My wife and I have done the "straight-thru" several times. We switch off every time we stop for gas. When it was the car, it was about every 5-6 hours, in the truck it's every 3 hours or so. Doesn't make it seem so insurmountable when you do it like this. The trip home, though, is the worst as there is nothing to look forward to.

Just as an aside, I'd cross over at the Peace Bridge instead of NF. It will save you some time and you won't have to pay the toll at Grand Island. Pick up the I-190 right at the bridge to the I-90.

03-14-2004, 10:28 AM
We prefer to leave at night around 7 or so it is not very busy on the road plus the kids sleep in the car through the night and so does the second driver. We make a couple stops for a hot chocolate usually at the Tims in Dayton and then for gas in Kentuky. We stop for breakfast in the AM at the Georgia welcome centre and let the kids out to run around for awhile. Then the second driver takes over and I sleep for a few hours and then stop for lunch at the rest area on the Macon bypass. We stop at about 3 or 4 in the afternoon in Valdosta for the night that way everyone gets a nice night of sleep in a bed not the car and we are up and off for around 9 the next morning. Maes the drive really easy.

03-14-2004, 05:03 PM
We just did the drive (got home on Wednesday) and we found that the switching off of drivers is good because it forces you out of the car for a couple of minutes to move around and get some fresh air. We usually leave at midnight and are in Windsor by 5 am or so (from Barrie) stop at Tims and then cross over around 5:30 or so.We just beat the rush hour traffic in Detroit. Our goal is usually Macon Georgian. We arrived there this time around 8 pm...took a swim...went to bed and slept in until 8;30 or so the next morning.The drive is only 6 hours from there and the next stop is the Florida Visitors Centre. We switch off walk around, bathroom break and soak in some sun. We bought a DVD player this year which really helped and even took turns with the DD and the front seat (doesn't sound like much but it diverts your attention from gazing at traffic, and refocuses you on the scenery lets you wind down a bit). We use to fly all the time but have become accustomed to the drive and learned to break it up. If you feel fatigued or sore take the next rest stop and throw a frisbee around for ten minutes.All the running around loosens you up and gets the blood flowing again!!!We also break the states up into hour increments....makes you feel like your getting somewhere!!!!:teeth:

jersey shark
03-15-2004, 06:15 AM
Like anything in life, it's all in the attitude!

Such a long drive is tough, but if you think about it as an adventure; a great opportunity to experience new places/things, it'll be better.

Example, try different places to eat; in my experience Cdns go ga-ga for "new" places like Chik-Fil-A, Rally's, Checkers, Steak n Shake that aren't available in Canada (and these are just fast food joints!)

Try to turn driving down into an advantage over flying! Example...do one fun 2-3 hour diversion on the drive down that you could not do if you would have flown. Something as simple as a quick hit at a museum, or a quick city tour (Wash DC/Cinci OH) or even a stop at an outlet mall makes for a great diversion.

Other suggestions offered on this thread are great as well.

Another perspective that Cdns may appreciate is that when US folks make long road trips in Canada (I recently drove from Edmonton to Cold Lake, Alberta...okay it's not too bad only 3 hours), it seems conditions are much harsher (few freeways, crappy restaurants, less civilization etc...)...by comparison the all-interstate routes from Canada to Florida with "lots going on" along them would make the trip seem a breeze by comparison!

Just my two cents.

03-17-2004, 01:31 PM
We love the drive down ! And having the tv/vcr strapped into the van has become a life-saver the last few trips! It's funny how we all have our "favourite" stops. We always stop at the KY Welcome centre, and the rest area at the Macon by-pass is always a must (too funny, Darren!) My DH works midnights so we often leave at 7AM when he gets home from work. I start the driving while he tries to sleep a bit. We always get to Tenn and often northern Georgia that first night. And then on to WDW the next day. We've checked in as early as 3PM and as late as 9:30PM ... just depends on if it's snowing/icy in the northern states, and how long we "play outside" at our rest stops.

Used Dave Hunter's book for the first time last year ... it was a riot! The drive home is a little more depressing 'cause we're not on our way TO Disney :rolleyes: But we always stay at the same hotel coming home ... Exit 141 in Tenn -- Comfort Inn --it's only about 6 years old and the free breakfast the next morning is really good (better on weekends because they have biscuits/gravy and sausage patties).

Mary Liz

03-17-2004, 04:09 PM
Hey Maryliz that is actually one of the kids favourite places to stop it is usually pretty warm there and sunny as we stop there around lunch hour. We like to check out the parking lot to see where the differnet cars are from. Wouldn't be right if we didn't stop at this rest area.

03-18-2004, 03:12 PM
i'll be doing the drive down this sept. for the first time. I'm really looking forward to it! we're planning on driving straight thru with dh driving the first 6hrs or so then switching and so on and so forth till we're there. I LOVE to drive so i won't have any trouble with it so thats why dh gets to drive most of the daylight hours lol. i can't wait to see all the different states cause i've never been past michigan. i bought the i75 book and enjoyed reading it already so i can know what to look forward to. i can't wait to see the kids faces when they wake up and we're in florida!

for those of you who have done this before, dave hunters book stops at the florida border. Is there alot of directions for getting to disney? or should i mapquest it for direction?

03-18-2004, 04:19 PM
There are lots of directions to Disney so you don't have to worry. You can stop at the Florida Welcome Centre and get a map with your free orange juice but basically you continue on I-75 until the Florida Turnpike. We like to stop at the Disney Information Centre in Ocala and they will give you a map and directions from there. It has a small gift shop and you can pick up guide books as well. It's a great place to start the excitement.

03-18-2004, 04:38 PM
We drove from Charlottetown, PEI in June 2003 and I did not mind the drive down or back. Out of the total 7700 kms that we travelled, DH only drove 6 hours. And that was 2 hours at a time max and in early morning as long as he knew we were nowhere near any cities. I tried to sleep but woke up everytime he put on the blinker. And the funny thing is when we arrived home after 3 weeks away, we realized we had never once had the radio on in the car. The kids had walkmans and DH and I talked the whole way down and back. After 3 weeks, we had nothing to say to each other. lol

We left at 5pm and drove to Houlton, ME for the night. Next day drove from 6am til 9pm and stayed somewhere in New Jersey near the Delaware border. Next day we drove from 6am to 11pm to St Augustines and the last day was just a few hours to Orlando. We did the I95 all the way down. 37 hours driving

On the way back we did the I75 to Tennessee, and came up thru the Virginias and Penns. on the 88 (I think) to the I90 in New York State and got on the I95 to head to New Brunswick. 43 hours driving but much more relaxing. We left Florida at 8am and drove to just past Knoxville, Tenn stopping at 9pm. Next day drove from 6am to midnight staying at Worchester. The last day we drove from 6am til 8am when we arrived at my parents house in New Glasgow, Nova Scotia.

I am afraid to fly too so we will be driving again in August 2005 taking my BIL and his spouse with us so they will take turns driving if they want. But I will not mind doing it all as I like to be in control. lol


03-18-2004, 04:58 PM
Wow Paula! I love driving down but I'm not sure I could do it from that far away. And the radio definitely has to be on.:)

03-18-2004, 06:15 PM
Hi Paula:

That is funny, you and hubby had nothing to talk about after the 37 hr driving trip. Thanks for the reply and the distances.


03-18-2004, 10:16 PM
I drove down solo in Jan/04 from Aurora

400>407>QEW to Fort Erie
Cross Peace Bridge
I-190 to I-90 to US219 (weather was not good on the 77/79 combo nor on I-75)
US219 south into PA - then wind through/across on the I-80 to I-99 then down onto I-76/70 into Maryland

I-70 to I-270 to I-495 Capitol Beltway onto I-95

I-95 straight shot down to I-4 and then to WDW

On the way down stopped in Roanake Rapids (started driving at 0900 and stopped at 2330) Started the next day at 0600 and was at AKL around 1400 or so - about 22.5 hours total

Stopped lots of times, drank lots of water and ate fruits and veggies - no protein or carbs or corn sugars - all this kept me quiet alert albeit with lots of bio breaks and stretches. I found the I-95 rest centres so well kept that it was almost a pleasure to stop

On the way back, left DAK about 1815 (it was 46 degrees- brrrr) went to the Publix at Intl Drive South and Vineland Road - picked up eats for the drive back. Got onto I-4 about 1915 and then drove up to North Georgia on I-95 just shy of the South Carolina border - this was just after midnight - call it 5 hours

Started the next day at 0645 - it was a glorious day - I was going to go 77-79 route but North Carolina had a huge snowfall with about 12 inches in Charlotte so that way was out - kept going up I-95 and then the reverse route the west of the way.

I should have stopped at about 14 hrs of driving but did not and drove all the way home getting in about 1am - did lots of little rest stops and eats but I would never drive that much time again in one shot - 16 1/4 hours was about 2 1/4 hrs too much - should have stopped in or around Fort Erie - will next time!

As a solo driver, I had a collection of CD's ranging from reggae and rock to talking books, listened to NPR a lot, enjoyed the scenary and watched what I ate

The trip went pretty fast - also had OnStar so was able to get directions with a simple call as needed


03-19-2004, 09:51 AM
I love the drive to WDW...I was actually jealous reading about everyone else's driving plans last year when we were flying. :confused:

The most important tip I can give you (at least it works for us) is to drive as far as you can that first day. For example: we'll be leaving Kitchener at 4 am this year & will probably drive until 7pm. Then when we leave the next morning, we only have about a 7 hour drive ahead of us and we get to WDW early enough to have a great meal & do some shopping at DTD (this year it'll be Bomas & DTD). I have to admit that we find the drive home much harder. :(

03-19-2004, 10:58 AM
All you Canadians are making me feel so much better about my drive! Now I'm getting really excited!

Thanks so much!!

03-19-2004, 08:47 PM
No problem harleyquinn we are always happy to help we are Canadian after all hehehe.

03-23-2004, 02:10 PM
people do the drive with kids???

We've driven to SC several times - leaving lunch time, and driving straight through...4 drivers, stretch breaks only, and made it by 2 or 3pm the next day....and that has always been ok...would NEVER do that with the kids...:crazy:

sometimes - like when the bill for airfare arrives;) - we're so tempted to try it ...and spread the trip out over four days...I don't think we could handle a "Marathon" 14 hour day...
...but we like to be AT wdw for two weeks...
...three weeks is just too long away from school...
...but we could take the two weeks Christmas vacation+1wk..
...which means we *could* go over Christmas...
...but the crowds are so heavy...

...which means we'll fly...

Anyone got any airmiles they want to donate???:wave: :wave:


03-23-2004, 03:16 PM
Have done lots of long drives with kids. My family used to always drive on vacation so got used to it. My son is a great long distance driver as well. I started him young though -- when he was 2 he and I drove to WDW and he was great. We then drove every year but one from then until he was 14. He's "too old" for Disney at the moment but am sure that he'll come around soon.

When he was 16 he and I drove 2 days to Yarmouth, N.S. for a family wedding, stayed for 2 days and then drove home again.

Btw we don't have a TV, DVD, game player or video in the car. He reads, looks out the window and listens to the radio and cd's.

I think long distance driving can be done with kids but I think you have to start young so that they get used to it.

03-23-2004, 09:12 PM
We started long drives with our kids from the time they were about 5 to 6 months old it really does help. They get accustomed to the sounds of the road and the car and radio etc and maes for a nice drive

03-24-2004, 12:52 PM
really great in the car...we regulary drive between here - Cape Breton - and the grandparents in Saint JohnNB...so a 6 hour drive - complete with Game boys and new books - is ok:)

I guess *I'M* the one with the issues!!:crazy:

Could I bear to leave WDW for the drive home...???;)

Mom and Dad drove down to meet us this past January, and they didn't mind it...but they did get caught in the Ice Storm that shut down SC for two days - I suppose the same thing can happen with flights...

We may just have to try it...:D

03-24-2004, 09:03 PM
Anyone got any airmiles they want to donate???

:earseek:, mbb what about aeroplan points?


03-25-2004, 01:02 PM
xxx xxxx xxx:earseek:

;) ;)
LOL...they will all add up someday...:D